Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
lbyrnes@careersourceclm.com

OCALA, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2021) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.8 percent in December, down 0.1 percentage point over the month and 2.4 percent higher than the same time last year. The region’s December jobless rate was equal to the state rate for the month.

The Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Marion County, led the state for over-the-year job gains in December, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Ocala metro area had 110,200 nonfarm jobs in December, an increase of 1,900 jobs (+1.8 percent) over the year. The Ocala MSA was one of only three metro areas in Florida to post over-the-year job gains, the others were Sebring MSA (1.1 percent with 300 new jobs) and The Villages (0.9 percent with 300 new jobs).

The region’s labor force was 204,743, up 968 over the month and 3,413 (+1.7 percent) more than in December 2019. The number of those with jobs increased by 1,065 across the region to 192,893 but dropped by 1,525 over the year. The number of unemployed fell by 97 to 11,850 over the month, an increase of 4,938 compared to the previous the previous December when the region’s jobless rate was 3.4 percent.

Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CLM’s CEO, said the report highlights encouraging gains across the region.

“It is certainly encouraging to see the Ocala MSA lead the state with such strong gains over the year,” Skinner said. “In fact, the December report tells us that overall the region is moving in the right  direction, albeit at a measured pace. In two counties – Levy and Marion – the drop in the number of unemployed was accompanied by increases in employment. In Citrus County, a very modest rise in the number of unemployed was outpaced by the number of new jobs.”

According to DEO’s preliminary jobs data for December 2020, Levy County continues to hold the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 5.1 percent, the same as in November and 2.1 percent more than in December 2019; Marion County followed at 5.6 percent, a drop of 0.1 percentage point over the month and 2.4 percent higher than the previous December; and Citrus County’s rate held at 6.6 percent, 2.5 percentage point higher than December 2019.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 5.8 percent, a drop of 0.4 percentage point over the month and an increase of 3.3 percent over the year.

Citrus County’s labor force in December grew by 390 over the month to 45,86, the number of employed increased by 360 to 42,841 and the number of unemployed ticked up slightly by 30 to 3,027. Compared to the previous year, when the jobless rate was 4.1 percent, the labor force shrank by 1,093, employment dropped by 2,176 and the number of unemployed increased 1,083.

Levy County’s labor force increased by 36 to 16,581, the number of those with jobs rose by 44 to 15,743 and the number of jobless dropped by 8 to 838. Over the year, those numbers represent 125 fewer in the labor force, a decrease of 465 employed and an increase of 340 unemployed when the unemployment rate was 3.0 percent.

Marion County’s labor force expanded by 542 to 142,294, the number of those with jobs increased by 661 to 134,309 and the number of unemployed fell by 119 to 7,985. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 3.2 percent, the labor force grew by 4,631, the number of employed increased by 1,116 and number of unemployed rose by 3,515.

Skinner pointed to other highlights in the latest jobs report:

In addition to leading all Florida metro areas with over-the-year job growth in nonfarm employment, the Ocala MSA continued to post the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in Florida in state government at 9.6 percent as well as the highest annual job growth in state government, adding 1,500 new jobs over the year for a total of 17,200 government jobs.

For the third consecutive month, the Ocala metro area also had the fastest annual job growth rate in the state in trade, transportation, and utilities at 5.1 percent, adding 1,500 new jobs for a total of 26,700 jobs.

Both industry sectors grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year. Mining, logging and construction, at 5.8 percent job growth (500 new jobs for a total of 9,100 jobs), also grew faster than the statewide rate.

Industries that lost jobs over the year in December were education and health services (-500 jobs); professional and business services (-400 jobs); other services (-200 jobs); information (-100 jobs); financial activities (-100 jobs); and leisure and hospitality (-100 jobs).

With a workforce of 9,400, the manufacturing industry was unchanged over the year.

In December, nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, was 32,100, a decrease of 1,400 jobs (-4.2 percent) over the year.

Statewide, 54 counties in addition to Marion County experienced modest drops in unemployment rates, four counties in addition to Citrus and Levy counties saw no rate change over the month, and rates rose in six counties.

Citrus County tied with Broward county with the 8th highest jobless rate; Marion and Volusia counties tied with the 18th highest rate; and Levy and Lee counties tied with the 32nd highest rate.

Among the states metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA tied with Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach with the 4th highest unemployment rate and the Ocala MSA tied with Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormand Beach with the 8th highest. At 5.9 percent, the Villages MSA, which includes a portion of Marion County, continued to hold the 7th highest rate.

Due to annual benchmarking during February, the region’s preliminary employment summary for Monday, March 15 and the preliminary report for February will be released on Friday, March 26.

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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of CareerSource Florida and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies as part of awards totaling $8.7 million (revised annually). CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail accommodations@careersourceclm.com. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Stay connected with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn. please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail accommodations@careersourceclm.com. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Like us on Facebook follow us on TwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn.

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